Threadgill’s auctions off some memories

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Threadgill’s restaurant, an iconic Austin landmark for nearly 35 years, is selling some of its memorabilia at auction this Saturday. Don’t worry, they’re not closing the joint, just trying to raise money to open a new Threadgill’s halfway around the world.

“I’m not selling gifts. I’m not selling any photographs. It’s kind of like I’m inviting the whole city to go through my sock drawer,” said owner Eddie Wilson. “If it won’t fit in my coffin, it’s for sale.”

But the 71-year-old is more sentimental than that. The jukebox stays; he knows most of the guys in there. He’ll keep photos and autographs with the likes of Janis Joplin, Ann Richards, Farrah Fawcett, John Travolta, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson at his first Fourth of July bash in 1973.

Wilson was the owner and sometimes bouncer at the old Armadillo music joint, which could get a little rowdy.

“When you’re introducing Willie to a bunch of hippies and they’re not listening, sometimes you have to slap them around a little bit.”

He’s joking. We think.

Wilson opened Threadgill’s in 1981 and took to it. “The food business is like getting on to a treadmill. It never stops, it never slows down.”

And neither does he. Wilson beat a lung cancer scare four years ago, adding, “I’m the only guy I know who gained 20 pounds on chemo.”

Wilson wants to build a new restaurant outside Auckland, New Zealand. Watching his daughter-in-law film the role of Gabrielle in the show “Xena” got him hooked during visits there on it’s beauty and friendly strangers.

“One fellow, in that Kiwi accent, came up to me and said ‘would you be Eddie Wilson from Threadgill’s?'” he recalled. “Now remember, I’m 7,000 miles away. He told me he went to South By quite frequently and always went straight to Threadgill’s for a meal.”

Speaking of meals, if Wilson had one last one to choose, it would be from his own menu, naturally. “I would say each of the five vegetable plate combinations. That’s about 543,232, so my last meal would take awhile.”

He will be present at the sale Saturday. It begins at 10 a.m at the Burley Auction Gallery in New Braunfels. If you leave there hungry, you know where to go when you get back to Austin.

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